Smoking leaves chemical traces on DNA

admin   •   September 22, 2016   •   3207

A man taps ashes off his cigarette into an ashtray filled with cigarette butts on a table in Ljubljana October 17, 2012. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

A man taps ashes off his cigarette into an ashtray filled with cigarette butts on a table in Ljubljana October 17, 2012. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

 

(Reuters Health) – Tobacco smoke leaves its mark on DNA by changing a chemical code on the DNA molecule that can sometimes change gene activity, according to a new study.

Some of these molecular changes revert to their original state when a smoker quits, but others persist in the long term, the researchers found.

Experts have known for some time that smoking causes changes of the DNA molecule, but they are now learning more about how widespread the changes are, and what they may mean, said senior author Dr. Stephanie J. London, chief of the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

“We don’t really know whether it means ‘damage’ to the DNA,” London told Reuters Health. “That requires more study, using data outside what we have here. What we’re saying is that it’s a change to your DNA that can have a downstream effect on what genes are expressed at what levels.”

The researchers combined data from 16 sets of participants in a previous study of aging, totaling more than 15,000 people who had provided blood samples that were analyzed for a type of DNA change known as methylation.

The DNA molecule contains instructions for growth and development in the form of genes, and so-called methyl groups along the molecule’s surface – collections of hydrogen and carbon atoms – can determine which genes get activated.

The study team compared 2,433 current smokers – those who said they smoked at least once a day sometime over the last year – to 6,518 former smokers who had stopped at least one year before the blood draw and 6,596 never smokers.

Current smokers had 2,623 different methylated locations on their genes compared to never smokers.

That corresponds to 7,000 potentially affected genes, many of which are implicated in various cancers, high blood pressure and other health outcomes of smoking, said lead study author Roby Joehanes of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston. But future studies will need to complete the chain from DNA changes to gene expression to disease outcome, he said.

Only 185 of the methylated locations were still significantly different between former smokers and never smokers, according to the results reported in Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.

“Many people think that after five years your health is mostly back to that of a nonsmoker, but that may not be the case,” Joehanes told Reuters Health.

“Stop smoking now because many, many, many of the effects of smoking will go away,” London said.

Since so many genes were involved, the researchers didn’t look at individual changes and their possible health effects, she noted.

In future studies of other environmental influences on health, using methylated DNA as a marker of former smoking may help rule out tobacco as a confounding cause, she said. There is already an effective test to detect recent smoking, but not one for smoking that happened decades ago.

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Publiko, pinayuhang maglinis ng septic tank para iwas sa dagdag-sakit ngayong pandemya

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Perwisyo at nakakasama sa kalusugan ang dulot na dumi ng poso negro kapag inabot ito ng pag-singaw o pag-apaw.

At upang makaiwas pa sa dagdag na sakit na maaaring makuha rito, lalo na ngayong mayroong nararanasang pandemya, hinihikayat ng Maynilad Water Service Inc. ang kanilang mga customer na samantalahin ang serbisyong pagpapalinis ng septic tank sa kanilang lugar.

“Ayaw naman natin na mapuno ang septic tank natin nung sludge ito kasi ang nasa loob ng septic tank na maaaring magdulot ng bara doon sa septic tank. Magkakaroon ng epekto sa ating kapaligiran at maaari din siyang pagmulan ng iba’t ibang uri ng sakit,” ayon kay Collection and Transport Septage Management Department (CTSMD) Head Carlo Tolentino.

Ayon sa Maynilad, mahalagang malinis ang septic tank sa ating mga bahay isang beses sa loob ng lima hanggang pitong taon upang makaiwas sa anumang sakit.

“Para ma-maintain natin ang treatment capability o ang kakayahan nung septic tank na linisin ang dumi na napupunta sa kanya para ang mga dini-discharge niyang tubig doon sa ating mga estero kahit papaano ay malinis na,” dagdag ni Tolentino.

Dahil nasa ilalim pa rin ngayon ang Metro Manila sa modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), tiniyak ng Maynilad na sinusunod ng mga tauhan nito ang public health standards gaya ng pagsusuot ng facemask at face shield bago pumasok sa mga bahay. May gwantes at masusing dini-disinfect ang mga hose upang masegurong hindi kakapitan ng mga virus.

“Lahat ng kagamitan nila is dini-disinfect bago magsimula at pagkatapos linisin ang isang septic tank,” ayon kay Tolentino.

Sa mga nais magpa-schedule pwedeng makipag-ugnayan sa mga naka-assign na Maynilad Zone Specialist sa inyong barangay o kaya ay tumawag sa Maynilad Hotline na 1626.

Maaari ding bisitahin ang Facebook page ng Maynilad para sa iba pang detalye at schedule ng pagpapalinis ng poso negro.

Ngayong taon target ng Maynilad na makapag-sebisyo at makapaglinis ng higit 158,000 septic tank ng mga customer nito sa Metro Manila. (Balita ni Janice Ingente)

DOH warns vs possible WILD disease outbreak due to consecutive typhoons

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) warned the public against the possible outbreak of waterborne and foodborne illnesses, influenza-like illnesses, leptospirosis and dengue (WILD) diseases after consecutive typhoons hit the country.

According to the Health Department, the widespread flooding and damage caused by the typhoons have brought health hazards to the public, especially the victims staying in evacuation centers.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III assured that the department and local government units (LGUs) are prepared to prevent any possible outbreaks. He also added that the DOH has released guidelines to its regional offices for contingency measures.

“We are very wary of possible outbreak of communicable, waterborne and vector-borne diseases after disasters, lalo pa ngayong may pandemiya na maaring magdulot ng (especially during this pandemic which can cause) complex situation,” he said in a statement.

Duque also cited the importance of practicing minimum health and safety protocols in evacuation centers. AAC

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DOH to conduct nationwide measles campaign beginning October 26

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 21, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) will conduct a nationwide measles and polio supplemental immunization campaign starting October 26.

DOH Secretary Secretary Francisco Duque said there is still a need to prevent possible measles outbreak especially while the country is facing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

As of August 2020, there are around 3,500 reported measles cases with 36 deaths. Most of the cases are among children under five years old.

The nationwide Measles Rubella-Oral Polio Vaccine Supplemental Immunization campaign will be rolled out in two phases. The DOH will be conducting the campaign for children under five years old which is around 9.4 million children for the measles-rubella vaccine and 6.9 million children for the oral polio vaccine.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a high-quality immunization campaign is urgently needed to stop measles transmission and possible outbreaks. We encourage parents and caregivers to have their children immunized. The measles vaccine is safe, effective and free,” he said.

The DOH’s immunization campaign is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnoro said there have been immunization challenges brought by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are at an especially challenging time when immunization for children is being threatened. All of us must do our part in ensuring children in our family are immunized, and that we provide the correct information to parents, community members and among our peers,” she said.

Meanwhile, Duque also assured that the health care workers who will participate in the campaign have been trained and will be provided with personal protective equipment.

The Phase 1 of the campaign will be conducted from 26 October to 25 November 2020 in Mindanao Regions, CAR, I, II, IV-B and V. Phase 2 will be conducted in February 2021 in Visayas Regions, NCR, III and IV-A. AAC

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